Ken Livingstone announced as first major signing for St Albans Literary Festival

Ken Livingstone is appearing at this year's St Albans LitFest

Ken Livingstone is appearing at this year's St Albans LitFest - Credit: Archant

The former Mayor of London, one-time MP and ex-leader of the Greater London Council (GLC) will be promoting his new book ‘Being Red: A Politics for the Future’ at this summer’s event.

In a largely Conservative district like St Albans, the left-winger is sure to prove a controversial speaker, and is expected to draw a huge crowd to his evening appearance at St Albans Cathedral on July 4.

His new book, which follows his 2011 autobiography You Can’t Say That, takes us from the self-proclaimed “radical socialism” of the GLC, through his controversial independent candiacy which saw him branded as “dangerous” by the Blairites, to the political battles against privatisation and pollution that characterised his time as London Mayor.

This year’s LitFest follows the inaugural event in 2014, which featured authors including Sir Terry Wogan, Jessie Burton, James Runcie, Ben Aaronovitch, Leanda de Lisle and Conn Iggulden.

This year’s festival will be mainly based at St Peter’s Church, with talks and workshops in different sections of the building and also in the churchyard, taking advantage of the storyteller’s circle opened there in the summer of 2014.

The festival will be kicking off with Ken Livingstone’s appearance on Monday July 4, with other events scheduled between Friday July 8 and Sunday July 10, and is set to include a programme of exciting activities aimed at appealing to both adults and children.

St Albans LitFest will also support any fringe events taking place during the weekend, offering publicity and assistance if any organisation wants to run their own talk.

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Run entirely by volunteers, the festival is supported by the Herts Advertiser, and editor Matt Adams said: “We are very excited to announce Ken Livingstone for this year’s festival. Whether you agree or disagree with his politics, he’s sure to be a fascinating speaker, and will certainly prove interesting in the true blue territory of St Albans.

“Ken is just the first of many names we’re going to be announcing over the coming weeks, so there will be plenty to look forward to in the run-up to the festival.”

An extensive schedule of events are planned across the weekend, including panels and talks covering everything from history and graphic novels to crime and science fiction, with a full array of children’s sessions and workshops taking place as part of the festival, ensuring the LitFest offers something for all the family.

If you’d like to get involved in the event, or just want to find out more information as it becomes available, visit the Facebook site or visit the websiteTickets for the Ken Livingstone event are now available, priced £7, from the LitFest website.